In brief: Robo designated driver, Thanksgiving casualties, Bigfoot erotica and more

Tony will soon be cruising the streets of Crozet.
Courtesy Albemarle County Tony will soon be cruising the streets of Crozet. Courtesy Albemarle County

Tony the self-driving shuttle

Perrone Robotics cranked up the driverless vehicle heat last week with the awkwardly acronymed Tony—TO Navigate You—which will soon be autonomously tooling around Crozet.

In a partnership with Albemarle County and JAUNT—Jefferson Area UNited Transportation, another awkward acronym—Perrone will test drive the shuttle near its facility in Crozet before it begins an official route in March, and JAUNT will lend its transit expertise.

Albemarle is ponying up $238,000 for the vehicle, Perrone $271,000 and JAUNT $108,000 for insurance and a trained operator, who will be onboard as an “ambassador,” but be prepared to step in if the six-seater needs a real driver.

The fixed route in Crozet has not yet been determined. May we suggest a pub crawl route from Starr Hill Brewery to Crozet Pizza to Pro Re Nata?

Quote of the week

“Quite honestly, if people don’t want a successful governor and a good representative of his constituents to come to speak at the University of Virginia, I don’t give a damn.”Robert Andrews, chair of UVA’s College Republicans, on hosting George Allen, whose past racial insensitivity—including the infamous 2006 “macaca” moment—drew concern from minority student leadership, the Cav Daily reports

In brief

Councilors want raise

Mayor Nikuyah Walker wants to ask the General Assembly to allow City Council to change its charter and determine its own salaries. Currently councilors make $18,000, and the mayor gets $20,000, which limits who can afford to serve. Council will hold a public hearing at its December 3 meeting.

Toscano not Pelosi-ing

Delegate David Toscano, the Virginia House minority leader, says he’ll resign the leadership position after the 2019 session because it takes too much time. Toscano, 68, has led the Dems since 2011, and says he’ll still seek reelection to the 57th District.

Uninviting Johnny Reb

After a petition to remove another local Confederate monument from Court Square—one that this time falls on county property and is dubbed Johnny Reb—the Albemarle Board of Supervisors has asked for legislation that would allow it to move the statue.

Uninviting Mike Signer

Members of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission want City Councilor Mike Signer off its board after they say he missed their past four meetings. In an email to the Daily Progress, Signer said his 4-year-old twins and other family members have kept him busy, and that councilors frequently miss their engagements. Wrote Signer, “Mayor Walker, for instance, has missed several council meetings this year.”

More Bigfoot jokes

“Saturday Night Live” actor Mikey Day threw on a taupe jacket and colored his hair gray November 17 as he took on the persona of 5th District Representative Denver Riggleman, who’s gotten plenty of national attention for being an alleged “devotee to Bigfoot erotica.” Said Day as Riggleman, “As I’ve said 500 times before, that picture was a joke between buds, and I’m not into that stuff.”

Caregiver con

Former caretaker Tia Daniels will serve three years in jail for stealing over $12,000 worth of heirloom jewelry and money from 98-year-old Albemarle woman Evelyn Goodman. Daniels also duped the elderly woman’s daughter into giving her money for a Habitat for Humanity house by creating fake correspondence with the charity, according to Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci.

Deadly Thanksgiving

The Charlottesville Fire Department is hoping to keep holiday cooks across the city from burning their houses down while preparing their turkey and pumpkin pies.

“Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires,” when nearly four times as many occur than on any other day, according to a press release sent by Battalion Chief Joe Phillips.

Fire crews across the nation respond to an estimated 172,100 cooking-related fires per year, for an average of 471 per day. These easily avoided incinerations have caused an average number of 530 deaths, 5,270 injuries, and $1 billion in property damage each year, according to Phillips.

City firefighters encouraging holiday cooks to keep flammable items like oven mitts and towels away from the stovetop, wear short sleeves or roll up their sleeves while in the kitchen, always have a properly fitting lid nearby to smother flames coming from a pot or pan, and, in the case of an oven fire, turn the heat off and keep the oven door closed so flames don’t spread.

And deep-fried turkeys can be deadly as well. The National Fire Protection Safety Association discourages the use of the hot-oil devices, which it says kills five people, injures 60, and destroys 900 homes a year.

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